Postcolonialism and Hindustani Art Music

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Ethnomusicology, Musical Identity, Musicians, Colonialism


Asian Studies | Ethnomusicology | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


Hindustani art music as it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is affected by particular conditions and influences. There is a process of change that has been happening in the music over its history, but in this time period, the change and issues are specific and can be examined with postcolonial theory. Specifically, I am interested in how the musicians in India interact and function with hybridization, disjointed notions of modernity, and national musical identity in Hindustani art music or North Indian Classical music. From the experience of its practitioners (critics, performers, students, teachers, all those involved with the music), we can get an idea of some of the immediate fluctuations, changes, and conceptions happening in the music at this particular time. the microcosm that I look at in this paper represents the interactions and mixings that have gone on in this particular music throughout time. currently, there are particular sets of influences and interactions defined by the practitioners both inside and outside of India, and by looking at the way the music and its practitioners react within this time frame, an idea of the music's structure can be deduced in relation to the convergent discourses interacting within the music.

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